Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp continues its relentless pistol-whipping of the National Geographic Society

James Fox: “I know how disappointed all of you are. I am too. It’s not the show that was sold to both myself and scientist Ben. Two months into it, we were off to a great start; good locations, solid witnesses and some opportunities for Ben to apply his field research as a geologist at some crash sites. Very exciting stuff. Unfortunately, when we actually got out in the field, we began to realize that they were more interested in poking around at night than allocating the time necessary during the day as, apparently (so we were told), Americans love watching others sneak around at night from the comfort of their couches. For the most part, it was gratuitous nighttime baloney. … I promise I’ll either quit or change my position within the show because at least I can make it all make some sense. The show does get a bit better further down the road, but not a lot. … My credibility and reputation has, deservedly, taken a serious hit.

Ben McGee: “When we were brought onboard, the project certainly had a much harder inclination than its final realization, and as a career scientist, I was excited that NatGeo was at the helm (unaware of their desire for a major shift in programming flavor). Our intentions were very sincere. … James and I both had expectations and (for our own reasons) hopes of an ultimately serious product. We both saw the project heading in a different direction as time went on and were powerless to influence it. Injecting science into mainstream media is also problematic, and I am suffering heat in my own circles for the lack thereof on the show.

Fox and McGee wrote their comments on the Facebook page of New York Times best-selling author Leslie Kean.

NatGeo put up a brave face and tried to spin the criticism, suggesting what the two stars said could be taken out of context. …

According to National Geographic, “Chasing UFOs” has been the highest-rated Friday night series on the channel since 2009. …

Read the whole thing here.

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Erin Ryder, the third star of Chasing UFOs,
hasn’t yet made a similar public statement.
But she did just pose for Maxim:

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For the National Geographic Channel:

  • Guest

    Right on target — “major shift in programming flavor.” With shows like this and “American Gypsies” (see Alan’s post on July 26th), the execs at NG should reevaluate the Channel and those at the helm. But nothing will change until people stop watching these shows and advertising dollars dry up.

    • Or when John Fahey recognizes that ad dollars will not save the Society over the long haul. 

      In related news: The New York Times, for the first time ever, has seen its subscriber revenue exceed its ad revenue.  

      That model was the one that built NGS. I hope it’s also a sign of things to come.

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